If you want to try some great wines, head to Portugal! An under-recognized old-world wine producer, Portugal has been exporting wines since at least 1679, and is home of the fortified and complexly sweet Port. Young Port wines are easy on the pocketbook, and make an excellent Port Sangria, a local favourite…
When Port’s popularity rose with the British in 1700s, regulations were put in place to protect the production of authentic Douro Port. Today, true Port only originates from the Douro Valley, Portugal, much like you can only get Champagne from Champagne, France. There are however many ‘port-style’ wines produced globally. True Ports use a blend of grapes (no mono-varietals), and add a fortifying grape spirit (not brandy) during fermentation. The addition of the grape spirit allows it to be converted to alcohol while sparing the natural sweetness of the Duoro grapes.
We learnt all this and more during a once in a lifetime visit to Portugal’s Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The terraced valley is absolutely stunning to see. Photos simply cannot do it justice, and certainly do little to convey the unforgettable food, wine, and hospitality.
Port wine is served all throughout Portugal, and on one of our first days in Lisbon we were wandering through the city and stumbled upon a lively outdoor market with cheese and meat delicacies, and huge jugs of Port Sangria.
The White Port Sangria was exceptional, a delicate mix of flavors and sweetness while still being refreshing. We each ordered a large cup and asked the host to tell us how we could replicate it for our friends back home!
Once you have tried the recipe for yourself, let us know what you think in the comments below!
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 branches of mint
- 1-pint strawberries, sliced
- 2 oranges, chopped into round slices and quartered
- 1 bottle white port-style wine
- 2 cans of sparkling water, or club soda
- Place the cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, strawberries and oranges into a large jug.
- Pour in the white port wine
- Stir and chill for one to two hours
- Immediately before serving, fill to the brim with sparking water and give a delicate stir
- Serve over ice in wine or rocks glasses